The Tree Whisperer

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dear Anne and Carter:

Today instead on Invisible Grandma, I think I should be named ‘The Tree Whisperer.’ Look at these pictures of a cypress tree in our back yard before and after (!) the landscapers in this housing complex got to it!

I literally cried when I first saw this Friday … after, sad to say, it was recklessly chopped. It made me so mad I sent an e-mail to all faculty, staff, and students who get the blessing of living here on this former military base overlooking 4000 acres of scrub brush, oak and sand dunes.

Our healthy cypress tree


Our butchered cypress tree


I only wish I’d spoken up sooner. And louder!

Twelve other local residents have written me with similar stories of thoughtless abuse of living plants, and trees near their homes. Even a community garden was sprayed with poison weed killer for no reason at all!

Needless to say, my speaking out and organizing people with similar concerns worked. The manager of this housing complex called a meeting immediately and 30 people showed up. Besides feeding us lots of Safeway fried chicken and vegetable plates, he told us he would meet with (and we hope probably fire) these landscapers. One neighbor even told me she watches the workers playing soccer many hours a day on one of our fields. What a waste of our rent money!

Landscapers butchered our cypress tree

Our Butchered Tree

In California where we live it does not rain from about April until right about now: October/ November. Everything dries up. There is no need to run big noisy gas guzzling power mowers or leaf blowers. The workers who are merely doing their jobs, just put sand and dirt into the air. Sometimes they cut beautiful purple statis wildflowers and yellow daisies along the roadside. We don’t get to see their beauty every day as we drive to work or pick them for their own windowsills.

I just had an idea. Maybe if you lived here, we’d get other kids to join you picking and tying the purple wildflowers with ribbons and hang them upside down to dry. Then we could take them to a Farmer’s Market and sell them. Maybe even give the money to the boy scouts or girl scouts.

ANYway, I just wanted to check in with you. I know that already you’re both interested in plants and living things. I bet you both are SUCH great gardeners! Last summer, back east, Carter gave me seeds to some his flowers. I bet your parents would also speak up loud to keep anything as terrible as this tree mangling from happening around where you live. If it did, I’m sure like me, you would tell someone in charge so that this never ever happens again.

I love you both and trust that you are having an exciting school year and fall season. The leaves must be ‘peaking’ as they turn yellow/red/oranges. How I wish I could be there with you.


Grandma PAT

P.S. Are you following this very very CLOSE and historical election for President? What are they doing in your schools about it? Our next letter will be about that.

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